I landed in Gisborne around noon time on Sunday the 8th after getting maybe 2 hours of sleep in 30 hours. I was met by the winery's senior winemaker, Brent, who had kindly offered to let me stay at his house until I found a place of my own. We threw my bags in his car and took a short tour of the area. Gisborne is a relatively small town and reminds me quite a bit of home in San Luis Obispo. We drove past the winery, a couple of beaches, and up the main street in town, Gladstone Road. Then, we headed Northeast on Highway 2 to the Ormond area, where Brent's house is located. Slowly winding out of town took us straight through several vineyards, orchards, and farms. Abutting Brent's home is a Gewurztraminer vineyard held by James Milton, a well-known winemaker in the region.The center of town is built adjacent to the confluence of the Taruheru, the Turanganui, and the Waimata Rivers, which feed into Gisborne Harbor. The town spreads out from here across the alluvial plains, which has led to the thriving agricultural industry. Gisborne is home to several different crops, including avocadoes, tomatoes, stone fruits, apples, various vegetables, and of course, wine grapes.
I awoke early on the 9th for my first day of work. Brent and I arrived around 8 and I was introduced to the winemaking team and given a tour of the facility. Montana's Gisborne winery is really three facilities operating together, with one slowly being decommissioned. After all the introductions, the tour, and a broad discussion of the overall production process of the winery, I was setup at my computer to begin familiarizing myself with the software programs needed to properly complete my job. Quickly, the other winemakers had covered my desk with papers, covering all the production process but focusing on my position as the yeast winemaker. By the end of my first week, I had become relatively comfortable with how the winery operates and was excited for vintage to begin. During my first week, Brent's family was more than accommodating, and I enjoyed spending my evenings with him, his wife Amanda, and their two children, Neo and Bick. Still, I didn't want to overstay my welcome.Despite it's typical negate connotation, I moved into my new home on Friday the 13th (shown above). The house is situated in the small community of Okitu just East of town about 7 kilometers (4.4 miles). I spent the weekend getting situated and getting to know my new flatmates, Peter and Mark. Peter is a real estate agent in town and the house's owner, while Mark is a personal chef for a wealthy family. After a week of poor surf and lots of work, I was finally able to paddle out on Saturday for my first surf since my arrival. The waves weren't the best, but I could see the potential. One benefit of my new home is the proximity to the beach. Directly across the street lies one of the better surf spots in town, Pines (the picture below was taken from my front porch and shows the spot's namesake), and several other well-known spots, including Makarori Point and Stock Route, are just around the corner.